For most people, the hardest part of getting in shape is getting started. I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into the first time I joined my college roommate for a jog one evening my junior year at Clemson – but to this day, I credit it as the beginning of my fitness journey. Everyone has to start somewhere. I remember being amazed that I’d made it a whole two miles – two miles! – and I hadn’t died in the process (clearly an improvement upon those nightmarish high school gym class jogs around the track). At the same time, I discovered two things – I didn’t hate it, and I could do it.
These are two of the most important aspects of not only beginning, but also maintaining, a successful fitness routine. There are also several other factors to consider as you get started:
- Make a commitment. Make a standing date with yourself. Put it on your calendar if you need to, and consider it a non-negotiable meeting. My gym time is my “me time” – and it is almost always the best part of my day.
- Do what you love. Otherwise you won’t do it. Try different things, and give them a chance, because what you end up liking may surprise you. When I first started running, I hated it. With a passion. But the better I got at it, the more I started to love what it did to my body and how it made me feel. Eventually, running snowballed into strength training. Then into Pilates and yoga. Then into Spinning. Just remember that if it’s going to work, it has to work for YOU.
- Find a partner in crime. A gym (or walking, or yoga, or cycling) buddy will hold you accountable. You don’t want to let your friend down – and it adds a social aspect to your workout. If you become a regular in a class, the other regulars will notice when you’re missing (and so will your instructor)!
- It’s more mental than you know. Often times, our brains talk our bodies out of reaching our true potential. I like to play the goal #1 vs. goal #2 game. It goes something like this: I tell myself I’ll run until I hit 3 miles, or 27 minutes, whichever comes last. By the time you hit that second goal, more often than not, you’ll find yourself making a second bet with yourself … and tacking on a few (or sometimes a lot) more minutes in the process.
Most of all, take it one step at a time. Start slow, and build up gradually – people often get so excited that they burn themselves out, or worse yet, end up injured, because they take on too much, too soon. Never be afraid to hire a trainer, or ask your instructor questions. We want to help you succeed!